John Gibson: Balmoral changes bring tears to eyes

Alexander Feidh of the Balmoral Hotel. Picture: Contributed
Alexander Feidh of the Balmoral Hotel. Picture: Contributed
Have your say

ONE last lingering look. The Balmoral’s food and beverage director Alexander Feidh, pictured, had invited me into the hotel for a fashionable “afternoon tea”. It is, to give it its authentic name, the Bollinger Lounge and I’m going to miss it something terrible.

It’s no heartbreak for Alexander, a relatively new kid on the block. For me the lounge is more than “just a room”. It’s part of the ongoing refurb there. The bar, with us stuffy old traditionalists, will vanish, relocated to the drawing room, or American bar, just yards away, with its impressive array of single malts.

The bar gone, the Bollinger is destined to become one large lounge as the name implies, accommodating 95 customers. Closes for a week from July 1 and again, to complete the refurb, for two weeks at the end of August.

I won’t recognise the place. Meantime, I’ve done the afternoon tea which leaves the Balmoral pre-eminent in the Edinburgh art of genteel tea in the afternoon. Scones, clotted cream, jam, sandwiches, etc. Costs £25, a glass of Bollinger extra.

Sad, though, this goodbye to a Capital venue which I’d come to regard as my own. What comes of being possessive and I’m finding it can be bad for you.


Michael Caine, eight decades behind him, speaking up: “You keep making movies if you’re fit enough, until no script comes, or the part’s too small, or the money isn’t worth getting out of bed for — then you’re retired. But that hasn’t happened yet.” Doubtless Michael will let us know.